It's rather obvious that arcade football games will likely never fade away into obscurity – in fact, the arcade-sports genre altogether, will continue to live on for quite some time. We have Midway and NFL Blitz to thank for popularizing arcade football, as there have been many others who have attempted to earn the same glory, all to no avail. But don't get me confused, because I'm certainly well aware that Midway didn't pioneer the sub-genre. Regardless, now another challenger comes, well…the only challenger, seeing as how they've got an iron grip on the NFL license for another seven years. EA's NFL Tour will be published under the EA BIG line, and that can only mean over the top football.
Now, the difference between NFL Street and NFL Tour is that the subject title at hand is focused on the campaign that'll eventually earn you a contract with the NFL. As the gamer, you'll experience a fictional traveling NFL road show – so it's basically an even more glorified version of the sport. From what I've seen, the game plays similarly to NFL Street, in that you'll be pulling off some pretty dazzling moves, such as running along the walls. It certainly has that NFL Blitz feel and look to it, as bombed passes will be extremely common, and breaking tackles should be relatively simply.
EA has implemented a system called Total Collision Control, which allows the player to take control of a tackle, whether you're on defense or offense, by using well-timed button commands. This system will allow you to either stop or break free from a tackle, which can make or break the situation, or even the entire game. So don't expect any Madden-like traits in the game, because you simply won't find them.
In the career, you'll build a team consisting of a created player, and actual NFL teammates who will aid you in your quest to achieving a contract with the big boys. You'll square off against other NFL teams, paving your way through the ranks, until ultimately reaching your destination. And yes, EA's Tiburon studio will be handling this title, so hopefully the end result is a solid one.
The gameplay will be pick-up-and-play from the start, so there will be no complications to wade through, or any quirks to the controls. I do believe that NFL Tour may be a little less over-the-top than NFL Street, but nevertheless, it's still completely arcadey, and really fast-paced. Visually, the game doesn't feature hulked-up athletes, which I prefer. They players look fairly close to their actual counterparts, and show rather solid visual details. The early footage I've seen had some rough animation issues, but hopefully EA has ironed all of that out, as well as given us a steady framerate.
Look for NFL Tour to hit next month, January 2008. It'll be the game with Shawne Merriman on the cover.